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Darijo Srna: I want to win the league title more than ever

Monday, May 1, 2017



Shakhtar skipper reflects on signing a new contract and a present for the birthday

- Darijo, first, we wish you a happy birthday! How long have you negotiated a new contract?
- Thank you for the congratulations. Firstly, I am very happy. As for negotiations, as such they had not been. I want to finish my career at Shakhtar. And when the president told me that he offered me a new contract, I only thanked him in respond! I agreed to any terms. You probably know about the story with Barcelona, ​​however, as I said, my heart is here. I'm happy at Shakhtar. After 14-year spell with them, you do not consider yourself a part of the club - you become a member of the family. And at such a difficult time, it's hard just to give up everything. Therefore, I made my decision very quickly. When I talked to the president, I told him that I was glad to sign a new contract, and I am glad that he believes in the team and me. Therefore, I feel a great responsibility to the president, the club and the fans. I am going to give my all to the fullest.

- You agreed to sign a contract without discussing it. So that means that you trust the club and the president so much?
- I fully trust the club, and they trust me. I am glad that I moved to Shakhtar 14 years ago, and everything that I dreamed of as a child came true here. I won the European Cup, participated in the Champions League, played for my country’s national team, came onto the pitch of the magnificent Donbas Arena, worked with so many coaches and players. However, none of this ever happened without one person, which is our president, to whom I am very grateful for everything he had done for the club and for me. I am grateful for that he did not lose his heart in such a difficult period. He really loves football, loves his team and constantly thinks about them. I talk regularly with the president, which is very worried about Shakhtar. He gave particularly emotional reaction to the victory over Dynamo. The president has not come to the stadium for three years, and the only thing that pleases him now is the Pitmen’s beautiful performance and trophies. On Saturday, we will hold the match, which we have been waiting for three years. It will be an extremely tough and insanely crucial clash. To win the title playing outside your home stadium all the time is worth its weight in gold. Bringing the Champions League competition as close as possible to Donetsk is a kind of satisfaction for us. We believed and believe that someday we will return to our home city and play at the Donbas Arena again.

- Remembering the situation with Barcelona, you wrote in Instagram: I listened to my heart. Do you think that you made the right choice?
- One hundred percent. I told the president that I would be happier to claim the domestic league title with Shakhtar than the Champions League with Barcelona. He answered me that everything was clear then. Few people put in his shoes would have acted like him. And I just could not forgive myself if I had left. However, this is ancient history. We became champions in 2014 last time, so this Premier League is very important for us, and the club may secure the tenth title. I want to win it more than ever and devote it to all Shakhtar fans, as well as the club’s president, as they deserve it most of all.

- How long, do you feel, are you ready to play at a high level?
- I do not know. If we do not take into account my age, then I feel good. However, I love and respect Shakhtar so much that I will not play at all cost. As soon as I realise that I'm tired and stop feeling comfortable, I'm not going to cheat anyone, I will not try to play as many matches as possible, just to set up new records. I have to be a professional and say one day: Dario, you no longer fit Shakhtar. So far, everything is all right. As never before, I want to become a champion, to win the trophy for the club for the tenth time. It will be also pleasant to hear the Champions League anthem in Kharkiv, which is not so far from Donetsk. And, of course, everyone and I have one dream, one hope, which is coming back to the Donbas Arena.

- You have been 14 years with the Pitmen to set up a record in a total number of apps made and trophies won. Where do you get motivation every day?
- My motivation is inside, in my heart. I am an emotional person and used always to take maximum from life. I went through the war, and I know what it is. In such a difficult time, you need to play not for yourself, but for Shakhtar fans. There are a lot of them, and they are everywhere: in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, abroad. And they all love and worry about the team, as before. Therefore, this season's title is of great importance. I'm not satisfied with our performance vs Oleksandriia, turning out to be one of the worst ... But we claimed a victory and we'll learn a lesson from this match. Shakhtar are eager not only to win, but also to demonstrate high-quality football. Yesterday, we failed to display it and are dissatisfied with this. It's good that we won, but we are not happy with the fashion we played.

- What gift would you like to receive for the 35th birthday?
- Gold medal. For me, it will be the best gift, as an indication of how you have worked the whole year round. I want my family to be healthy, happy and smiling with me. I wish peace came in Ukraine, in Donbas, in Donetsk. It will come, you just have to believe in this.